Investors are looking at long-term trends
Everyone wants clean, safe, reliable and competitively priced electricity supplies, but, as yet, no single technology can deliver all these objectives. Every technology for electricity production or storage has its positive and negative features.
An increasing focus on renewable energy resources may reduce the reliability of electricity supplies and contribute to a divergence in electricity prices with other regions.
Manufacturing requires large investment, so investors look to future trends rather than short-term price fluctuations.
International electricity prices for industrial users
A 2014 European Commission report shows the average figures for industrial users. There are significant differences in prices between countries, which need to be taken into consideration when discussing the competitiveness of European industry.
Further efficiency gains possible, but limited by laws of nature
The European Chlor-Alkali industry has made significant progress towards reducing energy usage in recent years. Energy consumption in 2016 was 13% down against the 2001 level. This is part of the industry’s wider commitment to improving its environmental performance.
Chlorine manufacturers are also investing in innovative technologies such as using hydrogen to generate electric power, and it is, of course, in their interest to strive for even greater efficiency.
However, efficiency and innovation can only go so far, due to the thermodynamic laws of nature governing the electrolysis process (as detailed in this information sheet). A minimum level of 2.2 Volt is required to make the chemical reactions happen. However, the energy used in the chemical reactions is not lost, but retained in the high-energy products and is released when it is reacted to make downstream products.
Therefore, whilst further opportunities exist, they are limited. You can discover more about this in the Energy Situation in Europe.
Why not also discover:
- European Chemical industry 2017 Facts and figures
- European Commission report: Energy prices and costs in Europe
- Call from the Alliance of Energy Intensive Industries to safeguard the competitiveness dimension of the Energy Union